Mary, Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? by Mary Crowell
How floriferous our gardens are looking this month and next, probably due to the amount of rain followed by glorious weather. June/July are the months that one notices how well and showy the roses are in the neighborhoods. It is so hard not to stare at the lush gardens while driving, remembering to keep one's eyes on the road! My roses, (Betty Boop, Altissimo, Irresistible, Double Gourmet Popcorn and micro mini Si) are blooming like crazy. Contrary to popular myth, roses are not as fussy as some would lead you to believe. Following are some easy steps for the care of roses: Make sure they have good air circulation and lots of sun by pruning out the inner branches and removing lower leaves at the bottom foot of the plant. If you deadhead (remove the spent blooms) regularly, water on a regular basis, and feed every 4 weeks with a balanced rose food, you will see marvelous blooms all summer long. To prevent powdery mildew and hit a few aphids, it might be necessary to spray every few weeks with a mix of 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp horticultural oil, 2 tsp of dishwashing soap in a gallon of water. A few spoonfuls of Epsom salts at the base of the plant seems to help, along with a product called Pay Dirt that my rosarian friend, Lore recommends.
Now is the time to feed camellias, feed and water summer flowering bulbs, and feed and water citrus well, as it is essential for great tasting and juicy fruit. Pinch your mums back to have many more blooms in the fall. Cut grass longer than usual, water deeply but less often, and fertilize every 6 weeks. Or better yet, get rid of the grass and plant a veggie garden in the front lawn area. Our tomato plants have been in since late March and have loved all the rain we had. Finish pruning late blooming shrubs such as weigelia, spirea, forsythia, philadelphus and cut back vines such as wisteria, honeysuckle and passion vine. Trim hedges. Lift and divide iris after blooming. Stake tall plants such as alstroemeria and order fall bulbs. This is also a good time to take cuttings of geraniums, plant herbs and summer perennials, such as coreopsis, scabiosa, feverfew, lantana, verbena and my personal favorite salvia. My two favorites salvias are limelight, a purple and lime green, and hot lips, a red and white. July is usually the last month we repot and split cymbidiums, usually every 3 years or so. You want the new cymbidium root growth in place before the winter arrives. It’s a shame I do not take my own advice as I was late repotting my cyms this last year and they didn’t have time to grow roots well, before the winter rains, so I had loose plants with no roots this spring and no spikes. Had to repot them again! Correct watering year round is so very important but especially critical in the summer, especially if it is hot! Don’t over water natives and remember to check container plants for moisture as they dry out much more quickly than plants in the ground. Use water saving devices such as soaker hoses, drip irrigation, and mulches to cut down on evaporation.
It is not too late to plant June/July veggies such as beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, parsley, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Get seedlings rather than seeds at this stage of the game. Plant some herbs in baskets and containers right outside your kitchen door to make for easy access. I have those five chimney flues I’ve mentioned before, planted with tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, and a “pink lemonade” lemon tree in one of them that is finally recovering from being transplanted.
As most of you who know me personally are aware, my real passion is epiphytic cacti, epiphyllum if you want to google the plant, the “Oh WOW” flower and I am about midway into my season. With about 300 different plants currently blooming and in bud, I should have a great showing this month. We are having open house June 13th, 10 AM-2 PM, come on by and check out our flowering cactus plants. The address is 317 San Miguel Way in the San Mateo Village, San Mateo, cross streets, Hillsdale and Saratoga near hwy 101. We live in the back in-law so come through the alleyway door on the left side of the garage to the back yard and be wowed!
or c/o San Mateo Garden Center, 605 Parkside Way, san Mateo, CA, 94403.
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